Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No Regrets!

THERE ARE SOME DECISIONS IN LIFE I think are solid, wise choices. Stuff that, no matter what happens later, you'll always look back on and think, "Yes, I'm still really glad I did that." It's not a long list. It simply contains facial tatoos and any fashion you gladly embraced in the '80s.

Oh yeah, and this:

It's a car I saw on the way to work one day. The driver was a 50-year-old guy who couldn't have looked less hip or less humorless. So it was easy to believe that the guy behind the wheel made this particular life choice earnestly. I'm not talking about his decision to drive a Honda Accord. And I'm not talking about the color of the car either. I'm talking about this.

Here is the story I imagined as I watched this man slowly turn left off of Barham Road, while I continued on. The story went something like this: Kevin Federline so touched this man, he could not contain his enthusiasm. On his way down to the DMV, it hit him, "Damn it! I should do something cool with my license plate! I'm tired of those old-fangled random numbers and letters. I want something that tells people who I am and what I'm about. What I'm really about!" And then he clicked on the radio, and there it was.

And it was like the planets aligned. Like everything clicked into place. Finally. "Awww, shit! That's it. That. Is. It. Popozao, bitches! Popo motherfucking ZAO! I don't know what it means, but that's me! Fuck yeah, it is!"

The ZOW didn't hit him until he was filling out the paperwork, there at the DMV. "If I spell it correctly, people might misunderstand what I'm getting at. They might mispronounce it. I don't want to say po-po-zay-oh. I want to say po-po-ZOW! As in ZOW-EE!"

There was even a moment of trepidation, after he turned in the paperwork and while he had to wait that nanosecond or two for the computer to tell him whether his choice was approved. Whether someone else had beat him to it. Did they? Was he going to have to choose something else?

No. Popozow is available. It's all yours, guy. And no one else's. Wear it with pride. You will never, ever regret this decision, sir. It will always speak the truth about you. And the truth is like a heartbeat.




Fuck yeah.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cat Food

HOW CAN YOU TELL HOW A PET IS FEELING? It can be a complicated process, I think. For instance, at our house, we have two cats, Mr. Andy Chang and Myrna, neither of which can speak, write or use sign language.

I know, annoying, right?

While we're waiting for Andy to speak his first words (a theory currently popular with my wife), Myrna is finding alternative means of communication. No, she's not using the methods of the past. She's communicating through her food. The other day, after Myrna was done eating, we saw this in her bowl.

Now, if we only knew how to translate that into human words, we might actually be able to figure out what she's trying to say.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Poetry in Motion

SPAM E-MAIL ISN'T ALL USELESS. And I do mean that sincerely. For instance, I love the random and unrelated subject lines to "boner medication" spam e-mails. This morning's elusive subject line? "Saintly Chain Saw." But sometimes they're more specific than that...a lot more specific. Like one I just received mere moments ago which read: "Your orgasms will be enhanced to the point of ecstasy, and your stamina and overall sexual health will be greatly increased." Which I think, if I may be so bold as to criticize, is so informative that I don't really need to read the e-mail itself. After the subject line, I feel like I know it all!

Where's the mystery? Where's the ooomph? Saintly Chain Saw has it. "Your orgasms will be etc etc" just doesn't. Back to Advertising 101, gentlemen. You failed!

I also love the trend, which seems to be waning a bit of late (sadly), of the random word jumble that masquerades as the name of a sender. Such as the e-mails I have received in the past from Tenderhearted Halfback, Uninspiring I. Spitoons, Connective F. Amputation or -- the all-time champ -- Hitlers S. Stubbornness. Ah yes, of all the things I remember about Hitler, it was his stubbornness that was most irritating.

But most excellent-awesome is the weird paragraph of seemingly haphazard words and phrases that accompany many of today's most popular spam e-mails.

Let me just for one moment break down the content of a recent spam e-mail I received. One which was attempting to sell me "Autodesk AutoCAD 2008" for the outrageously low price of $129.95. Just how outrageously low is that price? Well, according to the email, it retails for $6620.00. Yes, that's right, the spam was offering a deal on AutoCAD for a savings of $6590.05! Or a 99.5% discount, if you prefer percentages. Sound too good to be true? Of course it is!

But enough of the simply specious information, let's get to the befuddling data at the bottom of the email, the text below the imbedded JPEG that reads:

This drizzling three-day January thaw
Snaps of ice cracking in the hidden air
The line between the outside and this room
Will hear the storm-blast of his clarion
Brush the lone giant in that somber pall.
And trumpet at his lips; nor does he cast
Of the matter of snow here. Both of us have grasped
And he is swathed in ever-petrified dread;
To watch me watch drowned snow lift from the lake.
Among us, only Alberti, then Sangallo,
Your red cheeks radiant against the wind,
Hoarfrost is in his bones and on his head,
When Arctic winds crack down from Canada
Upon from the right by far trees, that white place
End of the comedy.
Scrawny wolves, and you,
Event, the end of the painted road ends up
Empty streets I come upon by chance,
I. Further Exploration of Spitsbergen

So, I sorta figured, "This must be a poem, right? I wonder whose poem it might be." And without even really reading the words, scanning them at best, I grabbed the first line and plugged it in to a Google search. And quickly found that it was from "Midwinter Thaw" by Robert Pack. Success! For some reason, the sender of this spam email combined the dryness of AutoCAD software (not to mention savings!!) with the austere wordcraft of poet Robert Pack.

Oh wait! That's the second line from Mr. Pack's poem. And, um, none of the other lines match. Hmmmm. That's odd.

That's when I really read the spam-poem and saw that it doesn't necessarily hang together from line to line. Not to mention the truly odd final line: "I. Further Exploration of Spitsbergen." So I Google'd that. And found it in the table of contents of a book titled To the Arctic!: The Story of Northern Exploration from Earliest Times by Jeannette Mirsky, published by The University of Chicago Press in 1970, which I found here.

Okay. That seems a bit obscure. Sure. But then, as I dug deeper, it got weird. While searching these internets for the source of the next line, I found another nonsense non-poem where "snaps of ice" was the first line...not the second. But even stranger, the "poem" included the lines:

Preface to the 1948 Edition
IV. The Paths to Cathay

Which...were also listed in the table of contents of To the Arctic! by Mirsky.

And then, when searching for the source of the fourth line, the "storm-blast of his clarion" line, I found that it was the final line of something called "A Poem in Memory of Stephan", which I found "The Grief Blog" (not as hilarious as it sounds, incidentally). But, you may ask, what's the first line of "A Poem in Memory of Stephan" as listed on The Grief Blog?

"Covering the land-- XVII. Greenland"

While I don't know where the "covering the land" part comes from, the "XVII. Greenland" is once again a reference to the Mirsky book. It's Chapter 17.

What the fuck?

Now I"m getting weirded out. But it doesn't stop there! Oh no! Randomly, I grabbed a line from the "Memory of Stephan" "poem". This line: And Mère Chose's square of world. Which I plugged into a search engine and found that it belonged to "Effet de Neige" (after the painting La Route de la ferme Saint-Siméon by Claude Monet) by John Hollander.


Wait! Hang on a second. While I'm on this UofC page, where I've found these other poems, and I search the page for "storm-blast of his clarion", the line that led me first to the Grief Blog. And what do you know? It's actually from a poem by Victor Hugo, "Archangel Winter" (from "Beyond the Earth III"). Turns out, all of the lines from the AutoCAD spam-poem can be found on this page. And at the bottom: a link to the Mirsky book! And then, when I go back to check the other lines of the "Memory of Stephan" wordpile, I confirm that all of those lines are also culled from random poems...which can handily be found on the very same UofC page.

So what does this all mean? Does it mean that the University of Chicago is using the internet to turn all of the world's poems into one giant PoemBall? Perhaps. Of course, it could be even more sinister than that.

Are you ready for it? Because I'm about to drop a gigantic truth bomb on your fuckin' brains. Here's what it means.


Either that or a bunch of dead poets want me to buy AutoCAD software for 99.5% of its retail cost.